Spousal Support Is Not Automatic: There Are Certain Criteria

In a contentious divorce, it is common to hear a single word tossed back and forth — alimony. While television dramas often create the illusion that every person is entitled to spousal support, in real life, it is hardly the case. Learn about some of the criteria that come along with being awarded alimony. 

Financial Need

Always remember that alimony is need-based support. Think of it almost in the same terms as you would welfare, in that a lot of people might like the opportunity to collect extra money each month, but only those that need the support can. If the judge deems that the spouse who is requesting the support has the financial means to support themselves just fine, it does not matter how much residual income the other party has, they can deny the request. 

People with real financial needs are more likely to be awarded alimony. Keep in mind, the judge will require that you support your request for alimony with paystubs, bank statements, and other financial records. So, you will have to prove your need.

Time in the Marriage

States also typically require that the spouse who is requesting the support be married for a set period, such as 5 years. Spousal support is sometimes is thought to be money that one spouse pays to another, which is somewhat of a return on what they have invested in the marriage. 

For example, if one spouse worked two jobs to support the other spouse while they went to medical school, upon divorce, the spouse with the medical degree may have to provide support to the other spouse, given the support the other spouse offered to help the person reach this pinnacle in their life. Often, a person who has not been married very long has not made such an investment in the eyes of a judge. 

Always Speak with an Attorney

It is important to understand that judges have a great deal of discretion when it comes to who they will or will not, award spousal support to. Whether your spouse is threatening you with alimony or you believe you are due this support, it is always a good idea to let an attorney handle this matter and your entire divorce settlement. An attorney will work within the confines of the law to ensure your best interests are followed. 

Remember, alimony is not necessarily the standard, so make sure you take a closer look.

For more information, contact a law office like Hugh O. Allen Law Offices.

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